Homebirth can be a great way to get your perfect birth experience. However, since you’re pretty much left on your own after giving birth without the round-the-clock immediate support available like during hospital births, it’s up to you to make sure that you recover from birth properly.
As a two-time homebirth mom, with my most recent homebirth experience being July 2021, I figured I’d share some of my best tips with you.
Don’t stress about routines and schedules (just go with the flow)
Let’s face it, labor never starts when we expect it when we’re planning for a homebirth.
For example, my daughter’s due date was July 4th and on that day I was fully prepared for her arrival. Turns out she wasn’t ready to come out until July 10th and this wasn’t made clear until 6 am that morning.
Since the day before I wasn’t in labor, I decided to turn in early Friday night with plans of finishing up some work tasks and doing some things around the house the next day. Well, when I woke up with contractions at 6 am that had rapidly progressed around 10 am, as you can guess both of those plans went out of the window along with my normal routine and schedules I had already in place.
Now, she’s inching towards three weeks old and I’m preparing to start easing back into my work roles full-time, and the thing that makes me not feel stress about returning to some job duties is just going with the flow.
Currently, I check in about once every 2-3 hours Monday through Friday and work in 30-40 minute sessions to stay on top of work duties. There are no more set hours or 63 hour work weeks for me for the rest of the year at least. Thankfully, the older kids are out of school for summer break for at least another month, so I also don’t have to stress about a schedule for them either.
Stress will only result in a limited amount of productivity, missing precious moments with my baby girl, and possibly postpartum depression. None of which are worth it.
So, my number one tip for having a good recovering from a homebirth is to not stress about your routines and schedules (or anything else for that matter).
Plus, the baby stage is one of the best parts of parenting, but it’s also one of the shortest.
If your partner is offering help accept it (now is not the time to be superwoman)
Understandably, not everyone has a partner to go through the recovery period with them, and not every partner is willing, or able, to help with recovery. However, if you do have a partner that is offering to help, trust me, accept it – now is not the time to be superwoman.
As my pregnancy progressed, my partner decided to plan to take a month off to help me get into a new swing of things since as a freelancer I wasn’t able to have maternity leave. When he first mentioned taking a month off I didn’t think it was necessary as I’d successfully birthed two kids prior and continued to work from home successfully without needing extra help.
However, this go around I literally have no clue how I would have managed to stay afloat without the help. From him making padsicles to making sure that I remembered to take time to eat in addition to helping out with Ellie, doing household chores, and making sure the older boys were entertained and staying on top of things the help was definitely needed and appreciated. When he goes back to work having this downtime will definitely be missed.
Trust me, you never know how much you actually do daily to keep the household running AND how much help with even what you consider to be the tiniest things help out until you are recovering from birth.
Additionally, I feel that with having a home birth it’s more important to accept the help that’s offered since you technically never got a chance to breathe, before, during, or after birth, since you did deliver at home and didn’t go to the hospital.
Stay on top of your health AND hygiene
Having a new baby at home means that your days, in the beginning weeks, are going to fly by and health and hygiene can easily get put on the backburner.
This is especially true if you have opted to go with breastfeeding, pumping, or a combination of both.
In my case, I breastfeed and pump, which means the majority of my day is spent nursing and pumping.
Add in work, and soon my usual household duties and it’s super easy to fall behind on staying on top of my health and hygiene.
Showers are typically easy to sneak in daily, but things such as skincare and hair can be a little tricky as it seems like as soon as I get out of the shower it’s time to nurse and/or pump, which makes it super easy to fall behind on other hygiene tasks.
Then, healthwise, it’s hard to remember to eat AND even harder to make sure it’s something healthy at that. Plus, once cleared by my midwife I also have to fit in daily exercise.
Then, of course, when you’re breastfeeding you have to remember to take your prenatal pills daily still.
I definitely get how remembering to stay on top of your health and hygiene can be hard. However, it is something that you must do to recover from a homebirth (or any type of birth for that matter).
What’s helping me make sure I stay on top of my health and hygiene is the Glow Baby app. In addition to helping me keep track of how much I’m pumping, diapers, and Ellie’s feedings, it also helps me keep track of time. I can make sure I’m using my time wisely when she’s sleeping and plan out things based on when I can expect her to wake up or when I’ll need to wake her up.
Rest when you need to
Unlike a hospital birth, with a homebirth, you’re already at home and never leave your comfort zone or have nurses available to help out, which means it can be hard to actually take the time to rest when you need to.
I get it, as a mom of formally three and a full-time work-at-home mom rest is something that I’ve become adapted to not getting much of.
However, this birth was a little intense with nonstop contractions for the final two hours leaving me physically and mentally exhausted.
I ended up taking 72 hours away from all work and all other stress triggers to recover AND my partner made it mandatory that I wasn’t allowed to go downstairs for the first week (he wanted it to be longer, but one week was the max that I could just stay solely upstairs – after the first 3 days I already started venturing out of our bedroom lol).
I never knew how much I needed the rest. Despite having to be up every 2 to 3 hours for feedings, not working, having to do chores, AND actually getting more than a few hours of sleep each day (midday naps are awesome by the way) I felt more rested in those 72 hours than I have in probably the past decade.
Those 72 hours also resulted in me cutting back with my work hours and I still sneak in a few midday naps with Ellie.
Plus, it’s super important to take time to rest after your homebirth because if you stay in go mode and try to do too much you’ll make your bleeding heavier and last longer and no one has time for that.
Make time for self-care (daily)
We all know the importance of making time for self-care. However, after giving birth it’s even more important to make sure that you’re doing something self-care-related daily.
It doesn’t have to be anything major either.
For example, some self-care things that I’ve done since giving birth include dying my hair (I didn’t dye my hair my entire pregnancy so this was hugely satisfying for me), playing my cooking game (typically done while pumping), and purchasing some items to redo some areas in our home.
Yes, none of these are huge things, but they allow me to take some time to do something for myself so I don’t become overwhelmed and I’m able to lower the chances of me experiencing postpartum depression.
Overall, you have to make sure that you’re happy to be able to be the best mom possible, which means carving out a little time each day for yourself.
See Also: 50 Self Care Ideas For Moms
Remember your body changed for nine months it’s not going to recover from your homebirth overnight
It’s so easy to want to bounce back to your pre-baby self and resume your role as supermom. However, it’s important to remember that your body changed for nine months so it’s not going to recover from your homebirth overnight.
Give yourself time to recover and keep these tips in mind as you work to recover from your homebirth.